Vegan Thanksgiving and Christmas Menu with Recipes

Today I’m going to share with you a SLEW of recipes that are ideal for your Thanksgiving menu – but also for Christmas.  You see, in Canada, while Thanksgiving is celebrated, it is nowhere near as large and festive as it is in the US.  So, I have always viewed American Thanksgiving dinner to be very similar to our traditional Christmas menu.  So, I will share with you the plant-powered dishes I make for both our Canadian Thanksgiving AND our Christmas dinner – pretty sure you will find at least a few to add to your own menu!

My menu is based on flavors and ingredients that were (somewhat) traditional from my childhood.  I say somewhat because there are parts of my Newfoundland food heritage that I didn’t care for and don’t try to preserve (salt beef, boiled cabbage).  But, the elements I loved – like dried savory in a moist breadcrumb based ‘dressing’ I did love.  So, I have reinvented some dishes in more compassionate, healthy – and flavorful ways, plus added my own menu components.  And, I’ll note that our families (my mom, my parents-in-law, and sisters) have said that our vegan dinner is tastier than their traditional turkey dinners (and that they feel better after eating it).

The “Centerpiece”

I think this is where vegans feel stuck for the holidays, because they feel the need to “replace” the turkey.  In my view, I never wanted to replace a carcass on the table.  And, since I always thought that turkey meat was the least interesting part of the meal (there’s a reason I smothered it with gravy, dressing, and cranberry sauce), I didn’t care to “replace” that meat-y component to the meal either.  So, for our family, we have never done the Tofurky for Christmas.  You may want to – I’m not condemning it!  Instead, I’m giving alternatives for something like Tofurky, Field Roast, and Gardein roasts, for those of you that want something altogether different (as we always have).  Here are two ‘main dish’ ideas:

1) Festive Chickpea Tart.  This savory tart from Let Them Eat Vegan was featured in VegNews and has received rave reviews.  It isn’t difficult to make, and you can even bake it without a crust if you prefer.  Definitely a holiday “centrepiece”.

2) A phyllo pastry savory main course.  Usually I make the Festive Chickpea Tart for Thanksgiving, and then for Christmas I make a main course with whole-wheat or spelt phyllo pastry.  I choose a savory filling, some of the recipes I’ve used over the years include: Spiced Mushroom and Potato Phyllo Pie from TEV, White Bean, Walnut, and Spinach Phyllo Rolls and Moroccan Chickpea Vegetable Phyllo Rolls from ed&bv, Brocolli-Mushroom-Walnut Phyllo Pie from Vive le Vegan, and most recently I’ve used the Rawesome Nut Dip from ed&bv as a filling for phyllo rolls. While I love all these recipes, I will tell you that the rawesome nut dip is the easiest, quickest filling of them all.  I’ve used it the past couple of years for that reason, and usually double the batch to yield a large enough batch for filling the phyllo rolls.  This year I plan to roast some vegetables (probably some sliced red peppers, fennel, and mushrooms) and layer those with the raw dip.  Phyllo is FAR easier to use than you might think, and it is forgiving.  So, either layer in a casserole dish (I have instructions for doing so in both TEV and Vive), or make phyllo “rolls” (and I have instructions for doing that in ed&bv).  I have posted the recipe today for my White Bean, Walnut, and Spinach Phyllo Rolls!  Plus, the Moroccan Phylllo Rolls recipe and Rawesome Nut Dip recipe are also available.

Moroccan Chickpea Vegetable Phyllo Rolls with Balsamic Maple Sauce (from “eat, drink & be vegan”)


I know there are regional differences whether you call it stuffing or dressing.  We called it dressing growing up, and it will always be that for me.  But, why stuff a bird-bum when you can stuff a gorgeous, fresh winter squash?  Butternut, kabocha, red kuri… take your pick, then stuff it silly!  (Plus, you can always make extra stuffing and bake in a covered dish.  I do just that, because my crew eat a LOT of the dressing!)  I have posted my “All-Dressed Squash” recipe for you!  **Note: Forgive some of the upcoming photos, they were taken several years ago.  I will try to get better photos this year, though I must admit that taking food photos is the last thing I want to do once Christmas dinner is all ready!

I have recipes in most of my books for gravy.  In TEV you can find a Mushroom Gravy.  In ed&bv there I have a Thick ‘n Rich Gravy, and in LTEV you can try Rosemary Gravy (pictured with the No-Fu Love Loaf, below).  I am sharing my Thick ‘n Rich Gravy recipe (with an oil-free option) with you today!  😀

Mushroom Gravy from “The Everyday Vegan”

Side Vegetables 

The side veggies might be my favorite.  My secret to particularly scrumptious root vegetables is to ROAST, not boil, them.  Growing up, our parents boiled the veggies – to a pulp.  Boiling takes all the flavor out of the vegetables and then you need a lot of fat/salt/seasonings to make them taste special.  Roasting concentrates the flavors and caramelizes the natural sugars for the best flavors in your root veggies.  Roast them whole, then puree in your food processor or with an immersion blender.  The pureed roasted rutabega (turnip) are spectacular, I really love them, with the infusion of cinnamon (just like my mom used to do)!  I also make roasted sweet potato puree with nutmeg, and then I do a casserole roast of some combo of chopped roasted parsnip/fennel/carrots/shallots.  (And, sometimes I’ll do a mashed potatoes for the girls as they love them.)  In LTEV I also have some ideal holiday side dishes, including: Smashing Sweet Spuds (pictured below), White Bean Mashed Potatoes, Lemon Dijon Green Beans, Oven-Sweetened Beets with Sage, Gingered Broccolini, and Duo of Roasted Fennel.  The recipes for my Roasted Sweet Potato Puree and Roasted Rutabega Puree are now posted.

No-Fu Love Loaf with Smashing Sweet Spuds, Rosemary Gravy, and Lemon Dijon Green Beans

Roasted Sweet Potato Puree (left); Traditional Cranberry Sauce (foreground), Phyllo Rolls with Rawesome Nut Dip (right)

Roasted Turnip Puree

Mixed Green Salad

With all the cooked veggies, I like to add a fresh mixed greens salad to the menu.  I keep it very simple with some thinly sliced red pepper, cucumber, green onions, and pomegranate seeds (an easy, festive, colorful touch), and topped with a sprightly dressing.  This Kale-Slaw would also be PERFECT for the holidays, with the combination of apples and cranberries:

From “Let Them Eat Vegan”

Cranberry Sauce

Can’t forget the cranberry sauce.  Forget ocean spray, it takes mere minutes to make your own fresh cranberry sauce using the simplest of ingredients!  My Traditional Cranberry Sauce is easy and excellent, try it!


Dessert varies every year.  Some years I’ve made my Chocolate Pumpkin Pie, more recently I have been making my Pumpkin Pie Custards with Brulee Topping.  Many years I make ice creams!  They are great for many reasons: (1) You can make them in advance; (2) You can customize holiday flavors (I have “egg-nog ice cream” and “pumpkin pie ice cream” in LTEV; (3) add a luscious sauce (like Coconut Caramel Sauce from LTEV), fruit, and/or nuts, and transform them into beautiful parfaits!

Pumpkin Pie Custards with Brulee Topping

And, here are some other recipes that would be ideal for your Thanksgiving and Christmas get-togethers:

* Chai Peanut Butter Ice Cream

* Pumpkincredible Hummus

* Pumpkin Chia and Raw Chocolate Pudding Parfaits

* Pumpkin Cauliflower Chickpea Curry with Fresh Cream Sauce

* No-Fu Love Loaf

* Nicer Krispie Squares

* Creamed Cheese Brownies with Salted Dark Chocolate Topping

* Gluten-Free Pie Crust with “Apple of My Eye” Pie Filling 

* “Hello Vegan” Bars

I hope you enjoy these recipes for the holidays. 😀  Truly, a vegan Thanksgiving and Christmas meal can be FAR more delicious than any traditional dinner, wouldn’t you agree?  Please share some of your favorite holiday dishes with my readers!


  1. Dawn says

    This all looks lovely! Do you have a vegan pie crust recipe for the chickpea tart? Or can you recommend a pre-made vegan pie crust? Either works for me.

    • Dreena says

      Thanks Dawn! I do have 2 piecrust recipes in LTEV – they have a small amt of sweetener but that can be omitted for savory pies. Also, I have used the Wholly Wholesome line of pie crusts through must of my testing – they have whole-grain crusts which are terrific.

  2. says

    Thank you for the ideas and inspiration for the Christmas board. Everything looks so yummy and attractive. I also like to prepare handmade gifts for my vegetarian and vegan friends: I give jams made with fruits from my own orchard, pickles and chutneys made from my garden vegetables and other yummy treats and they’re always appreciated.
    Lorne M. recently posted..SSQ’s All-in-one Loan InsuranceMy Profile

  3. NinaBean says

    thank you for all the suggestions. I thought the carmel filling in the hello vegan bars tasted so much like the filling in pecan pie i decided to try it out. I followed the recipe for the carmel sauce poured it into a prepared pie crust topped it with pecans and baked @ 350 for 25 min. let it cool on counter then chilled it. turned out great . going to do it like this from now on.
    happy thanksgiving

  4. Ilana says

    So excited to finally make the chick pea tart … Modifying for my tastes, mushrooms in the base, miso instead of tamari, and a wild rice crust… Gonna be the star. Will report results!
    Ilana recently posted..NamasteMy Profile

  5. Kristen K says

    Hi Dreena,

    Your “all-dressed” squash is on my list to make this Thursday for Thanksgiving!! It looks so good!! I have a question about the ingredient list you posted. It reads:

    ¾ – 1 cup apple, peeled and finely chopped
    1 tsp lemon juice, fresh squeezed
    ⅓–½ cup apple, peeled and finely chopped
    1 tsp lemon juice, squeezed

    Is that correct? Or should I use one of the apple and lemon amounts above?

    • Dreena says

      Thank you for catching that editing blip Kristen! The original recipe had 1/2 cup apple, then I increased it b/c I preferred it with more – so you can choose what you like, I have edited it to reflect the 3/4 – 1 cup measure (toss with the 1 tsp lemon juice), as I think the apple really shines in the dressing. Thanks again. :)

  6. says

    Thanks, Dreena for this post! As this is my first vegan Thanskgiving I was worried I’d have to have a Tofurky. I’m not a fan of the faux meats and Thanksgiving is no exception. I’ve decided as my main, I’m going to stuff mini pumpkins for each guest! Your gravy’s will sure give it that extra I’ve been wanting!! Yay! And, as always, your desserts look divine!

  7. says

    I feel the same way as you do that it is not really necessary to replace the traditional bird centerpiece with a faux meat substitute. However, I must point out that Field Roast’s Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute is actually very delicious!!! We had it last year on our Thanksgiving table and it was requested again this year. I’m gonna’ try that rutabaga puree since I just got some rutabagas at my last CSA yesterday. Happy Thanksgiving!
    Debby Sunshine recently posted..My List Of Thanks On This Vegan ThanksgivingMy Profile

    • Dreena says

      Great, Debby! I take a huge serving of that rutabega puree every year – my family doesn’t love it (kids don’t like it, hubby will eat just a little)… so it’s all mine! 😉 Thanks for sharing that tip about the Hazelnut Cranberry Field Roast, good to know.

  8. says

    I’m thinking about making the chickpea tart, but doubling it. Do you think it would work as a 9″x13″? That would be easier to transport than two pies.

    • Dreena says

      Yes, you could do that Robin. The baking time might vary – you may need slightly longer, but then if you’re not using a crust in the pan (I’m assuming you’re not?) then the baking time might be just fine. Or, you could pop the two prepared pies in the base of a larger baking dish to transport and cover with foil – if that makes sense! Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving Robin!

  9. says

    I found you (and the No fu love loaf recipe) at Fat Free Vegan.
    I made it. I am eating it and I LOVE IT!!! Thank you so much for this. Now to buy the book!

    • Dreena says

      Wonderful!! And, welcome to my online kitchen. 😉 Susan did such a beautiful post featuring my loaf, I loved her photo SO much. Thanks for your support – LTEV will keep you busy (and dare I say happy?!… yep, I dare) Thanks for the note, enjoy the book.

  10. Audrey says

    What a fabulous round-up, Dreena! This is definitely my kind of Thanksgiving fare. I’m planning on bringing for chickpea tart to Thanksgiving this year. I’ll be the only vegan in attendance and the gathering will include lots of family. I’m a little nervous about how the dish will go over. I plan on making a trial one a few weeks before to get comfortable with the recipe. There will be plenty of non-vegan food, so I’m hoping that my little addition proves to people that vegan food can be hearty, wholesome, and delicious.

    • Dreena says

      Thanks Audrey, and yes, it’s a good idea to make it in advance, just to see if you’d like to tweak in any way (add more cranberries, more walnuts, etc)… and, makes it easier too for when you feel the holiday stress – if you know how to make the recipe already, just makes the whole cooking experience much more fun! Wishing you luck – and a Happy Thanksgiving!

  11. says


    Wish we were coming to your house for Christmas or Thanksgiving!
    I’ve wanted to try your festive chickpea tart for so long – I usually make a big lasagne for Christmas, which is delicious, but way too hot when you’re in Oz!

    Love your phyllo/filo rolls and your gravy, so I think this looks like a pretty darn good mix – and many I haven’t tried before.. Will hop to it!
    mattheworbit recently posted..A Quick, Easy, Hearty Pasta Recipe (And a business update!)My Profile

    • Dreena says

      I do too, Matt – I’d put you to work!! 😉 I think the chickpea tart is easier than a lasagna… esp when you are trying to escape the heat. Maybe YOU should come to Canada, cook with me in the cold. 😀

  12. says

    I adore your mushroom gravy and cranberry sauce. They’re two of my favorites for sure. The past few years I’ve had seitan-based centerpieces, but this year your chickpea tart is calling me. Thanks for the beautiful options!!
    Cadry recently posted..Dr. Who Party: Wrap-UpMy Profile

    • Dreena says

      oh cool!!! I’ve never made a seitan main dish, but so many of them are perfect for Thanksgiving. Delighted that you have enjoyed my cranberry sauce and gravy over the years – thank you Cadry!

  13. Tash says

    Oh wow!!! Amazing stuff. Im having my first Vegan xmas, so its going to a bit of a challange. My mum is more worried about it than i am 😉 We dont have thanksgiving here, so i will store these away for a month!! ♥

    • Dreena says

      You can do it Tash!! I’ll cheer you on from the other side of the screen. 😀 Once you nail down a few vegan recipes for the holidays, they become part of your repertoire every year and it becomes easier and easier. Enjoy!

  14. says

    I’m so glad you did this post – I am already thinking about my Christmas menu! I’m leaning towards the Broccoli -Mushroom-Walnut in phyllo for the main dish this year and possibly the festive chickpea tart too – nothing wrong with leftovers!

    The side dish that I made at Thanksgiving this year that was such a hit was roasted shredded brussel sprouts with cipollini onions – they were outstanding and I’ll certainly make them for Christmas too!
    Jaime recently posted..Whats cooking!My Profile

    • Dreena says

      I am as well, Jaime – it’s not that far away, once we get close to US Thanksgiving, the whole Christmas momentum begins! OOOH, I love that brussel sprout recipe suggestion – do you have the recipe link for my readers – I’d love for you to share it if so!!

      • says

        One roasted shredded brussel sprout recipe coming up!

        Rinse and dry fresh brussel sprouts (make sure they are very dry otherwise they will not roast properly). Remove any outer leaves that look less than appealing. Cut the stem of the brussel sprout off then cut the brussel sprout in half. Then shred with your knife (kind of like doing a chiffonade of basil ) or you could use your food processor. I like the knife method because I like to keep the shred fairly consistent in size for even roasting.

        Once all shredded put on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt (smoked salt is wonderful if you can find it. I bought a Yakima Applewood Smoked Salt at my local store that was just excellent in this recipe so its worth tracking down) and pepper and toss with your hands so that everything gets covered. If you can find cipollini onions (italian sweetheart onions) they are superb in here to – they get incredible sweet when roasted so if you can find them thin slice them and add them in too. If not this recipe is still great without so don’t let that stop you!

        Roast in the oven @ 350 for 25-30 min making sure to give them a stir on the pan every 5 or 10 minutes so they don’t burn. Seve and enjoy!

        Here is a link to a picture on my blog with them. Sorry about the photo quality, I never take great pics but my camera was being difficult that day and I had to use my iphone.Its the very first picture.

        Hope you guys love them as much as we do!
        Jaime recently posted..Whats cooking!My Profile

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